The 10 Tech Trends That Will Transform Our World

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What makes the fourth industrial revolution so different from previous industrial revolutions is the convergence and interaction between multiple technology trends at once. In this article, I list the ten major technology trends that are driving the fourth industrial revolution – trends that I believe will forever alter how we do business and live our lives.

Trend 1: Ubiquitous computing

These days, computers are all around us: in our pockets, on our wrists, in our cars, even in our household appliances…

As processing power has increased and the size of computer microchips has shrunk, we’ve quickly become used to computers and devices getting smaller, lighter, cheaper, more powerful, and more ubiquitous. (As an example, the average smartphone today is more powerful than the supercomputers of 10 years ago.) Looking ahead, probably the next big leap in computing power will come from quantum computers – computers that are so fast and powerful, they could be used to complete new, previously impossible tasks that traditional computers aren’t capable of.

Trend 2: Connected and smart everything

No doubt you’re familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) from devices like smart TVs, smartwatches, and smart thermostats. The IoT refers to the increasing number of intelligent, connected devices and objects that are capable of gathering and transmitting data.

In the future, anything that can be connected, will be. Not just in terms of devices and products – although that is obviously a key consideration for businesses – but also the spaces in which we live and work. From smart, connected factories and offices to entire smart cities, the spaces around us will increasingly be equipped with the ability to monitor what’s going on and act accordingly.

Trend 3: The datafication of our world

Ubiquitous computing and the IoT are both huge contributors to the sheer volume of data that’s being generated on a daily basis. But alongside this machine-generated data, we humans are also generating masses of data through our daily activities, and this shows no signs of slowing down.

The good news is businesses can use this data to design better products and services, improve business processes, enhance decision making and even create new revenue sources. But businesses must also be aware of the risks posed by data, particularly around data privacy and security.

Trend 4: Artificial intelligence (AI)

All that data being generated is a core enabler for AI, which has made incredible leaps in the last few years, particularly when it comes to “conversational AI.” In 2020 alone, smart speakers answered 100 billion voice commands – 75 percent more than in 2019 – all thanks to AI.

The takeaway for businesses is that, as our interactions with machines become increasingly intelligent, customers will expect all manner of products and services to feature some sort of AI capability.

Trend 5: Extended Reality (XR)

XR is an umbrella term representing the spectrum of immersive technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

XR was primarily known for immersive gaming, but nowadays, it is deployed across a wide range of industries, where it is being used to create more immersive, personalized experiences for customers and employees. For example, customers can now try out products virtually – such as digitally placing a new sofa in their living room to see how it looks – and employees can learn in immersive, interesting new ways.

In the future, I believe our experience of the world will increasingly take place in this blurred space between the real world and the digital one, and XR is only going to accelerate this shift. Companies must therefore begin to consider how they will accommodate this, and create immersive experiences for their customers and employees.

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